Professional Jeweler Archive: Manufacturing a Platinum Wire Setting Using Tack-Welding Technology

January 2005

Bench / Welding Technologies


Manufacturing a Platinum Wire Setting Using Tack-Welding Technology

Knowing how to tack-, fusion- and pulse-arc-weld at the bench saves time, increases quality and drives up profits for your shop and service department

By Mark B. Mann


1. The materials we’ll use to make a platinum pendant include wire made of a platinum iridium alloy. This article covers a manufacturing method using tack-welding technology to make the wire setting for a pendant with a movable bail.
2. I formed the rectangular wire into the bottom gallery for the base of the pendant and divided it into four equal sections using a divider and a black marker. I prepolished the wire after forming and soldering.
3. After cutting individual prongs to an exact length from the round wire, I filed a uniform angle at the base of each one. Using the ABI Tack II, I tacked each prong to the lower gallery wire. I used the contact pad and pliers leads with the unit set on 40 volts on the low energy setting.
4. Next I tacked pieces of 1500 solder at the base of each prong and used the vacuum pump and pliers leads with the unit set at 30 volts on the low energy setting. I made sure there was good contact between the piece of solder and the lower gallery wire and prong junction, with no rough edges or other obstructions that would cause a destructive tack-weld.
5. It’s important that the tip of the vacuum pump lead is filed flat and makes good contact with the piece of solder. This image shows four prongs tacked to the lower gallery wire and 1500 platinum solder tacked at each solder joint.
6. I soldered each prong then formed the upper gallery wire from round wire. After making it round, I marked the position of each prong and notched it so it would drop into place at the correct height. I soldered it at each prong junction with 1500 solder.
7. For the connector for the movable bail, I tacked a U-shaped wire to the upper gallery wire. The welding unit was set to 30 volts on the low energy setting; the connector wire ends were slightly rounded and have no sharp obstructions.
8. I tacked pieces of 1500 solder at the connector joints and torch-soldered them.
9. All parts were prepolished and finished through the process. Next I formed and connected the movable bail, set the center stone and did the finishing.

Important: Tack-, fusion- and pulse-arc equipment settings will differ and are based on the volume, amount of contact and alloy of the material you work with. Practicing using like materials will give you a parameter for the settings required for your application. Keep a record of settings and tasks for future reference.

For questions related to this process, contact Mark B. Mann at mark@visualcominc.com or (406) 961-4426. To view related welding procedures, visit www.visualcominc.com.

This installment on welding technologies is sponsored by ABI of Cranston, RI. For general information on ABI equipment and procedures or for a list of distributors, call Janet Kirk at (888) 494-2663.

Photographs by Mark B. Mann

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications